A master’s in business degree is an ideal program for individuals seeking upper-level positions in a wide range of fields. The degree provides students with in-depth instruction in a variety of business topics. Examples of coursework include general management, financial accounting, corporate finance, marketing, statistics, leadership theory, human resource management, and economics. Since nearly all industries involve business in some form, a business degree is helpful for a wide variety of career fields. Additional benefits include career advancement, higher yearly salary, and adequate job security.

Ranking Methodology

As master’s degrees in business evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace, top-rated business schools outperform others and are regarded among the best business schools for aspiring professionals. Our ranking was created to help identify 30 of the best accredited business schools in the U.S. We looked at 150 institutions listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and the most recent publication of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Business Schools. We narrowed the list by applying the following criteria: Available concentrations; national or program rankings with U.S. News and World Report; and affordable in-state graduate tuition/fees. We listed the schools in order of affordability.

#30 – University of Chicago

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $52,713

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business offers several options for completion of the MBA, including an evening MBA, executive MBA, full-time MBA, and weekend MBA. The school prides itself in cultivating a culture of inquiry and innovation, welcoming students to be vigorous in dialogue and fiercely independent. University of Chicago has one of the few MBA programs to offer 14 concentrations that allow students to tailor their degree toward career goals and interests. Concentrations include accounting, analytic management, economics, finance, international business, marketing analytics, and strategic management. Booth is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report as a top business school. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Grad Schools for Business published by U.S. News ranks Chicago’s business school #2, tied only with Stanford.

#29 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,272

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Business offers a variety of business programs, including the traditional and executive MBA. Sloan’s motto is invention and the understanding that all ideas are made to matter. Students are encouraged to become curious people, sharing ideas that impact contributions and creativity. The MBA program offers three tracks of study so that students may tailor their degree. These tracks include enterprise management, entrepreneurship and innovation, and finance. The admission process includes a complete application, transcripts, GMAT or GRE test scores, and letters of recommendation. MIT is ranked by all major publications as a top national institution. Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks Sloan School of Business as the 5th best business school in the nation, tied only with Northwestern University.

#28 – Northwestern University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Evanston, Illinois

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,064

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers MBA programs that are tailored to the needs of students to help them hone their previous experiences and explore their business interests. The MBA program requires courses in accounting for decision-making, business, strategy, finance, leadership in organizations, marketing management, and microeconomic analysis. Applicants are evaluated based on academic record, personal essays, GMAT or GRE scores, resume, and letters of recommendation. While the tuition costs are high, the school is committed to helping students secure financial aid, such as loans and merit-based and need-based grants and scholarships. Northwestern is a top-ranked national university, and its business school is one of the best in the country. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Northwestern’s business programs #5 in the nation.

#27 – Duke University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Durham, North Carolina

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,656

The graduate level business programs at Duke University’s The Fuqua School of Business combine a foundational core with generous opportunities for students to explore their interests and increase know-how through elective courses. Several types of MBA programs are available, including the cross-continent MBA, daytime MBA, global executive MBA, or weekend executive MBA. Core courses, no matter the type of MBA, include accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, and operations management. Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and submission of essays to showcase writing ability. Duke’s business school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school #12 in the nation.

#26 – Dartmouth College

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Hanover, New Hampshire

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,416

Graduate business programs at Dartmouth College emphasize a small student size, residential learning experience, and access to esteemed faculty. The required curriculum includes courses in analysis for general managers, capital markets, corporate finance, decision science, executive communication, and global economics for managers. Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Dartmouth is a top-ranked institution by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. Tuck School of Business is also recognized. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the business school #8 in the nation–tied with Yale University.

#25 – University of Notre Dame

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Notre Dame, Indiana

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,765

The Mendoza College of Business at University of Notre Dame offers four completion paths for the MBA. One and two year MBA options, an executive MBA, and dual MBA degrees are all available so that students may tailor their program to fit their schedule and lifestyle. Admissions requirements include GMAT or GRE scores, academic transcripts, two recommendation letters, a slide presentation, and one essay adhering to topics offered by the school. Seven concentrations allow students to tailor their MBA towards areas of interest or career goals. Some of the concentrations offered include business leadership, consulting, corporate finance, innovation, investments, and marketing. Notre Dame’s business school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 25th best business school in the nation, tied only with Rice University.

#24 – Washington University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

St. Louis, Missouri

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,620

Washington University’s Olin Business School is one of the top-ranked business institutions in the nation. In fact, the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Business Schools ranks Olin as the 21st best graduate business school. Full-time, professional, and executive MBA options are available. Career-oriented concentrations are also available so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals and interests. Concentrations include consulting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and supply chain management. Applications requirements consist of a one-page resume, two required essays and one optional essay, unofficial standardized test scores, and academic transcripts. The university does not require letters of recommendation as part of the admission package.

#23 – Stanford University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Palo Alto, California

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $46,320

Dedicated to providing students with a learning environment that transforms students into passionate individuals, business programs at Stanford focus on critical and analytical thinking, personal leadership development, and creativity. The full-time, two-year MBA program covers core courses that include critical analytical thinking, ethics in management, financial accounting, information management, strategic leadership, and strategy beyond markets. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE score, resume, letters of reference, and personal essays. Stanford’s business school has earned recognition from many of the major publications. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Business Schools published by U.S. News and World Report ranks Stanford #2 in the nation.

#22 – Georgetown University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Washington, DC

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $45,136

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business offers several completion pathways for the MBA. Depending on individual needs, students may pursue an evening, executive, full-time, or global MBA. Both the full-time and evening MBA require the completion of 60 credits. Required courses include accounting fundamentals, business and public policy in a global economy, financial analysis for managers and investors, managerial statistics, and marketing analysis and customer strategy. The application process includes GMAT or GRE scores, resume, transcripts, essays, and one letter of recommendation. McDonough School of Business has received top rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 22nd best business school in the country.

#21 – Columbia University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

New York, New York

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,176

Committed to providing students with an entrepreneurial way of thinking, Columbia University’s Business School teaches ways to create opportunities and focuses on initiative, skills, and hard work. The core curriculum for the master’s in business administration includes financial accounting, managerial statistics, marketing strategy, global economic environment, and decision models. Columbia Business School also offers an Executive MBA, several master’s in finance degree programs, and a doctoral business program. For admission to the MBA program, students must have a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores, completion of a short answer question and two essays, and two letters of recommendation. Columbia Business School has earned rankings and recognition from all major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks Columbia #10 among the best business schools in the nation.

#20 – Vanderbilt University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Nashville, Tennessee

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,050

Master’s in business programs at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management emphasize a unique collaborative community designed to prepare students for the real world. The MBA program focuses on leadership development and experiential learning. Core courses include business in the world economy, management communication, managerial economics, managerial statistics, and strategic management. Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and submit GMAT or GRE scores, a resume, letters of recommendation, and essays. Vanderbilt is ranked by major publications as a best national university, and the business school has earned recognition. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the business school #22 in the nation.

#19 – Harvard University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $42,874

The business program at Harvard Business School prides itself on its six creeds that make it unique: global intelligence, learning in practice, residential learning community, entrepreneurship and innovation, publications and resources, and alumni relationships. The most popular business degree at Harvard is the MBA. Examples of required courses include finance, finance reporting and control, leadership and organizational behavior, marketing, and technology and operations management. Admissions requirements include a degree from an accredited four-year institution and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. While the tuition is over $40,000 per year, scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid are available. Harvard is ranked as the #1 best business school in the country in U.S. News and World Report’s most recent edition of Best Colleges.

#18 – Emory University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Atlanta, Georgia

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $41,940

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School offers several MBA completion pathways, including the one and two-year MBA, and the working professionals MBA. Required courses include data and decision analytics, leading organizations and strategy, managerial accounting, managerial economics, managerial finance, marketing management, and process and systems management. There are also over 20 concentrations available to the two-year MBA students. Some of these concentrations include accounting, brand management, healthcare consulting, and product management. Emory is a nationally ranked institution, and its business school has earned recognition. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the Goizueta Business School #19 among the best business schools in the country.

#17 – Carnegie Mellon University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $41,371

The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon offers a top-ranked MBA program designed to provide rigorous curriculum that covers not just business, but also leadership and strategic analytics. The two-year MBA program covers curriculum like accounting, corporate strategy, leadership assessment, managerial economics, and operations management. Admission to the program is highly selective and requires a current resume, one essay, one professional recommendation, transcripts, and a GMAT or GRE score. Carnegie Mellon is a top-ranked institution by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. The Tepper School of Business ranks #18 among the best business schools in the country.

#16 – New York University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

New York, New York

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $40,984

New York University’s Stern Business School offers top-ranked MBA programs, including the full-time MBA, the executive MBA, and part-time MBA. Admission is competitive and the process includes the submission of a GMAT or GRE score, resume and work history, recommendations, essays, and a by-invitation-only interview. Completion of the MBA requires two years of classes with a summer internship between years one and two. Curriculum includes financial accounting and reporting, firms and markets, foundations of finance, leadership in organizations, and operations management. NYU is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, Stern Business School ranks #20 among the best business schools in the country.

#15 – Yale University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

New Haven, Connecticut

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $38,700

Yale School of Management’s MBA program features an integrated curriculum where students study by examining raw cases that focus on the evaluation of various materials. Students complete a leadership development program and international experiences within the first year of study. The courses include business ethics, capital markets, and financial reporting, organizational perspectives, and orientation to management. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores, and letters of professional recommendations. Yale is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges ranks Yale #8 among the best business schools in the country.

#14 – Rice University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Houston, Texas

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,750

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business offers three MBA options: Full-time MBA, MBA for executives, and MBA for professionals. The full-time MBA option allows students to complete their advanced business degree in just 22 months. A summer internship between the first and second years is required and allows students to explore career interests and goals. Curriculum includes data analysis, financial accounting, managerial economics, marketing, organizational behavior, and strategy formulation and implementation. Rice University and its business school are ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Business Schools published by U.S. News ranks Rice as having the 25th best business school in the nation.

#13 – University of Pennsylvania

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

university-of-pennsylvania-top-30-best-business-schools

University of Pennsylvania’s MBA programs are ranked high, and the business school is known as the 4th best in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,268

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business provides students with unsurpassed international options and a unique shared experience with more courses than most other business schools. Several MBA options are available, including the general MBA, executive MBA, and JD/MBA. Coursework includes accounting, business economics, finance, marketing, and operations management. Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor’s degree, have taken the GMAT or GRE, provide letters of recommendation, and submit essays for evaluation. Wharton Business School is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Business Schools ranks UPenn #4 in the nation.

#12 – Cornell University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Ithaca, New York

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $29,581

With a well-earned reputation as a school with high academic standards, the master’s in business program at Cornell University features core courses, electives, and immersion into the business world. The MBA program is designed to help students build their confidence and set the course for leadership opportunities. Core curriculum includes managing and leading in organizations, managerial finance, and strategy. The program enables students to either complete an immersion or customized program. Admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree, resume, three essays, two recommendations, GMAT or GRE score, and list of activities. Cornell is a top-ranked institution by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Cornell’s business school #14 in the nation.

#11 – University of Michigan

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,966

Ross School of Business at University of Michigan is one of the top-ranked business schools in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the business school #12 in the nation, tied with Duke University. Ross offers several MBA options, including the evening, executive, global, and weekend MBA. Curriculum is considered rigorous and designed to provide students with core business skills and strategic frameworks that aid in success. Required courses include applied business statistics, financial accounting, financial management, managerial accounting, and operations management. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, provide GMAT or GRE scores, and submit a current resume, essays, and one recommendation letter. Interviews are conducted by invitation only.

#10 – University of Minnesota

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,289

University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management offers a traditional, evening, weekend, and online MBA. Students may also enroll as part-time or full-time students. The traditional, full-time MBA program offers seven areas of specialization, including entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, management, and marketing. Core classes include data analysis, financial accounting, leadership foundations and leading self, operations management, and strategic management. Admissions require a personal state essay, GMAT or GRE score, transcripts, three professional references, and a current resume. University of Minnesota is a nationally ranked institution, and its business school ranks #27 in U.S. News and World Report.

#9 – University of Virginia

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Charlottesville, Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,094

University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business offers an MBA program with industry specialty areas like energy, healthcare, media and sports and entertainment, real estate, and social enterprise. Specializations allow students to tailor their degree to fit career goals and personal interests. Core courses cover a wide range of topics, including business ethics, decision analysis, global economies and markets, management communication, marketing, and operations management. Applicants are required to take either the GMAT or GRE, submit an essay, two recommendation letters, resume, and transcripts. Darden Business School is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 11th-best business school in the country.

#8 – University of Washington

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Seattle, Washington

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,278

Foster School of Business at University of Washington offers several MBA pathways, including the full-time, evening, executive, and technology management MBA. The full-time MBA is built on curriculum suited to each student’s career goals and offers the right blend of classes, activities, and projects. Courses include building effective teams, financial reporting and analysis, leadership development, managerial finance, and marketing strategy. Core and elective study teams are a part of the program and are designed to equip students with teamwork skills while working on consulting projects or business plan competitions. Foster School of Business is ranked by major publications. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Business Schools published by U.S. News and World Report ranks Foster #27, tied with University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and Ohio State University.

#7 – University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Los Angeles, California

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,629

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is a well-known business school ranked by major publications and recognized for its MBA program. Core curriculum is designed to prepare students with a solid business foundation that transitions well into various careers. Summer and school year internships are a requirement and major part of the program. There are also 15 specialization areas offered so that students may tailor their degree towards internship goals or career interests. Some of these specializations include accounting, brand management, corporate finance, entertainment, healthcare management, marketing analytics, and social impact. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores, recommendation letters, application essay, and work experience. Anderson School of Management is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 15th best business school in the country.

#6 – Ohio State University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business offers a full-time MBA, executive MBA, and MBA for working professionals. Specializations are available and allow students to tailor their degree to better suit career goals and personal interests. A total of 57 credit hours are required, including core courses in accounting, data analysis, finance, international business, leadership, and professional development and business communication. Admissions requirements include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume, test scores, and essays and supplemental information. Ohio State is a nationally ranked institution. Also, the Fisher College of Business is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 37th best graduate business school in the nation.

#5 – University of Wisconsin

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Madison, Wisconsin

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870

University of Wisconsin’s School of Business offers three MBA completion pathways–the evening MBA, executive MBA, and full-time MBA. Those enrolled in the full-time MBA may choose one of ten career specializations. These include applied security analysis, brand and product management, corporate finance and investment banking, marketing research, and strategic human resource management. Common courses taken during the first year of study include data to decisions, introduction to financial management, introduction to financial reporting and analysis, leading and working in teams, and marketing management. University of Wisconsin is a top-ranked public institution. Also, the business school ranks #27 among the best graduate business schools in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

#4 – University of North Carolina

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,074

University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers full-time and executive MBA programs designed to provide intensive study through customized curriculum and concentrations. Students may tailor their MBA to suit career goals and interests by selecting a concentration or focus area. Career concentrations include capital markets and investments, corporate finance, management consulting, and operations management. Independent study and business projects are a major part of the program. While UNC is a top-ranked public university, the Kenan-Flagler Business School has also received recognition. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the business school #16, tied with University of Texas.

#3 – University of Texas

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Austin, Texas

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,934

University of Texas McCombs School of Business is one of the top business schools in the country. Several MBA pathways are available for completion, including the evening, executive, and full-time MBA. Admission is highly selective and includes official transcripts and test scores, a completed application, letter of recommendation, and essays. Interviews are by invitation only and issued on a rolling basis. The MBA program offers market-driven concentrations so that students may hone their degree to fit career goals. Some of the concentrations include accounting, finance, management, or marketing. University of Texas is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the business school is ranked #16 in the nation, tied with UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

#2 – Indiana University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Bloomington, Indiana

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,743

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business is a top-ranked and affordable business school for those in pursuit of their MBA. The full-time MBA program offers customizable curriculum that allows students to explore areas specific to career goals. Some of the specialty areas include business analytics, entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, finance, management, marketing, and strategic analysis of accounting. Joint degree programs are also available and include the three or four year JD/MBA and the MBA/MA program. Indiana University is a top nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the Kelley School of Business ranks #22 among the best graduate business schools in the country–tied with Georgetown and Vanderbilt.

#1 – Brigham Young University

Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Provo, Utah

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Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,500

Brigham Young University offers the most affordable MBA program on our list. Also, the Marriott School of Business is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 31st best graduate business school in the country–tied with Texas A&M and USC. During the first year, the MBA program from Marriott requires courses in corporate financial reporting, marketing management, operations management, and strategic HR management. A summer internship is highly recommended between the first and second years so that students may develop professional interests and gain work experience. During the second year, students are free to select from a variety of electives to fulfill their chosen major in one of five areas of specialization. BYU is our selection for the most affordable of the top 30 best business schools in the country.

Related Resources:

Top 25 Doctoral Programs in Business
10 Most Affordable Online Doctoral Programs in Business
Top 30 Best Online Graduate Schools

GSH Staff
February 2017